US-based Cloud Pharmaceuticals and the University of Florida Department of Medicine have entered into an academic collaboration to rapidly design and develop new drugs to inhibit the reproduction of cancer cells.
Under the deal, the two parties will share intellectual property and jointly fund ten research projects, resulting in the design of multiple new inhibitors of the MTH1 protein, an enzyme required for cancer cell proliferation.
The new compounds produced from this collaboration will target a broad range of cancers, such as ovarian, breast, colon and pancreatic cancers.
UF College of Medicine chair of the department of medicine Dr Robert Hromas said: "We are thrilled about possibilities of this collaboration because each party is contributing unique skills and research capabilities.
"The excellent progress made on our first project is exciting and opens up many new possibilities."
In order to rapidly generate potential inhibitors with strong drug-like properties for the MTH1 protein, Cloud has used its computer-based drug design process, Quantum Molecular Design.
The company said that MTH1 has been identified as a target for anticancer strategies, as the inhibition of MTH1 in cancerous cells eventually results in DNA damage and cell death.
Compared to chemotherapy alone, combining MTH1 inhibitors with other chemotherapeutic agents could result in far greater efficacy in cancer treatment.
Further, the UF Department of Medicine is developing the MTH1 inhibitors, including synthesis, assays and preclinical research.
Jointly, the two parties will seek an oncology drug developer for late-stage preclinical research and clinical trials following its success.